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Strasbourg frustrates Irish deportation order

08 January 2016

PA

"Paradoxical proposition": Remy Farrell SC, outside the Criminal Courts of Justice, in Dublin, last year

"Paradoxical proposition": Remy Farrell SC, outside the Criminal Courts of Justice, in Dublin, last year

A FATHER of four from the Middle East, who has lived in the Irish Republic for 15 years, has been accused by the State’s security agencies of being the leading recruitment organiser, among young Irish citizens, for the Islamic State (IS), or Daesh. The High Court approved the man’s deportation, but this has been frustrated at the last minute by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies that he has recruited for IS in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It was stated in court that one of his sons was involved in fighting in the Middle East, and another was being detained there without charge.

The man’s legal representatives alleged that he was tortured in the country to which Ireland wants to return him, and that allegations reported from the Irish courts would make further torture more likely if he were returned to the Middle East.

He obtained residency in the Irish Republic because one of his sons was born there, but the boy had later returned to the family’s country of origin.

After the Strasbourg intervention, Remy Farrell SC, for the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, said at the Court of Appeal hearing against the deportation order that, paradoxically, the more "infamous the conduct of the person concerned", the more difficult it would be to expel them from Irish territory. "That is a proposition that it is hard to accept," Mr Farrell said.

He agreed with counsel for the appellant, Michael Lynn SC, that "we, as a civilised country, do not return [people] to a place where there is a real risk of [their] being subjected to torture," and that protections afforded under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights were an "absolute" entitlement.

Should there be a real risk of a breach of the Article, then Ireland could not deport: "That is a position that the Minister does not shy away from," Mr Farrell said.

None the less, in the case of exceptional national security issues, he said, it "cannot be the law" that the "assertion" of Article 3 concerns at an interlocutory stage rendered the State powerless to "take steps to protect public safety against the threat of a public outrage".

The ECHR in Strasbourg ruled that the man should not be deported pending its consideration of the case. Should the case go to a full hearing of the court, it could delay the man’s deportation for another year, depending on the judgment that the court handed down.

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